“Finding it okay?” Umm, about that…
I am terrible at directions; I’m always getting lost. My GPS, maps, and animated pointing and yelling help a bit, but not much. U-turns, scenic routes, and “little adventures” are all common occurrences in my everyday life.
I used to get frustrated and embarrassed at my impotence, but I’ve learned to laugh at my mistakes, enjoy the new sights, and pay close attention so I’ll know where to go the next time.
This weekend I took my directional dyslexia to a whole new level. I went out with my cousins and their friends to celebrate a birthday. We ventured to downtown Phoenix for a night of fun and I drove around aimlessly looking for parking in the cramped city. We finally pulled into a parking garage and left my car in a seemingly easy-to-find spot.
I later learned that the group had rented a hotel room, so I decided to stay with them for the night rather than taking the 45 minute drive home late at night. After dinner, bowling, bar hopping, and four hours of sleep, we woke up and got ready to head home.
My cousin offered to drive me to the parking garage. We drove up and down streets named after the presidents searching for that massive, yet elusive structure. “Is this it? Remember where it was?” I scrunched my face and mumbled unhelpful thoughts about where the parking garage could be and asserted my unfamiliarity with downtown Phoenix. Finally I pointed at one, hopped out of his car, and wandered down the entrance with my fingers crossed that no one would see me walking down a street clearly labeled “NOT WALKWAY”. And I really hoped that my car would be sitting right there waiting for me like a loyal dog.
When I reached the parking lot, I immediately realized I had chosen the wrong garage, but I wandered the premise nonetheless, just in case. When I had confirmed that my car was definitely not there, I tried a few doors, studied a map of the area and discovered another nearby parking garage, and made my way back to the “cars only” exit. I jumped over a metal railing to get to the pedestrian walkway as the riders of the light rail looked on. I convinced a homeless man that I didn’t have a quarter to spare, I stared blankly at two older women when they asked me how to get to some restaurant, and I wandered alone up and down the streets of downtown Phoenix searching for the landmarks I had identified on the map. All to no avail. I know I should have called someone and asked for a bit of help, but I’m stubborn, independent, and hate being a hassle. Besides, I like these kinds of “little adventures” anyways.
Finally, by chance I glanced down a side street and saw a car pulling out of what must have been a parking garage. I excitedly made my way in that direction, hoping and praying that I would recognize this one. As I stood below the huge “PARKING” sign, I smiled. This was it. I remembered that ridiculously steep entrance. I happily skipped down the incline, but was dismayed when I followed the parking arrows and still didn’t see my car. After peering around a few corners and discretely following a fellow parking lot wanderer, I saw my car. I literally ran to it. I was so grateful to see my trusty companion.
Sometimes when you don’t know where you going or when you don’t know the way, it’s best to allow yourself some extra time. Leave early, take you time, and savor the journey. Have fun on your expeditions and get excited. See missteps and detours as opportunities for adventure, learning, and new insight, rather than detrimental mistakes. These circumstances teach us to ask for help and to gratefully and humbly accept it. Learn to laugh at yourself and encourage others to do the same – we all have faults and mistakes, so why not make the most of them?
Oh, and always remember where you park your car.